August 2009 Forecast
By Tim Briody

Why? WHY?!

1. [tm:4156_]G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra[/tm]

Pretty much the winner of the month by default. So shiny, explosive and noisy it should have been a July release. I remember seeing the trailer before Star Trek and my parents (hey, my dad is a big Trekkie), just looked at me like I was responsible for this sort of thing or something. I can't figure it out, either. Anyway, maybe we weren't the target audience for it but I expect a pretty darn huge opening night before word-of-mouth (which is a phrase that really should be changed to "word of Twitter" or something like that) kills it dead before the weekend is up. But with nothing much left in the way of noise and explosions, it's the last hurrah for what's been a disappointing summer.

2. Julie and Julia

The first movie that spawned from a blog. No, really. Why do you think everyone and their grandmother has a blog now? Since a blog probably isn't enough to base an entire movie around, it's been wrapped in a Julia Child biopic and baked for two hours at 400 degrees. (See what I did there?) [bp:3463_]Meryl Streep[/bp] is Julia Child and [bp:9186_]Amy Adams[/bp] is the woman who started the blog to cook every recipe in one of Child's cookbooks over the course of a year. Did you know that, not adjusting for inflation, Streep's biggest box office hit was last summer's Mamma Mia!? Still, she's had a fair amount of box office success over her career, though not to the degree of her awards pedigree. This is not likely to win her any more Oscar nominations, but it shouldn't be a box office disappointment either and will be another feather in the cap of Amy Adams.

3. The Time Traveler's Wife

The sure-fire five-hanky weeper of the month, the best-selling novel The Time Traveler's Wife becomes a movie. [bp:5725_]Rachel McAdams[/bp] goes back to her Notebook days and [bp:30_]Eric Bana[/bp], having quite the successful 2009, is the male lead. If [tm:4259_]My Sister's Keeper[/tm] can earn nearly $50 million, The Time Traveler's Wife is likely to earn more than that and has a good chance of being the leggiest release of the month as a bunch of poor basterds men are dragged to it.

4. Inglourious Basterds

Much has been made of the true return of [bp:747_]Quentin Tarantino[/bp] to theaters five years after Kill Bill: Vol. 2 was released. People seem to forget that he's never been a big box office factor. The Kill Bill films made a combined $136 million, but considering their nearly equal grosses, we now have the idea of the top end of his box office appeal. While [bp:78_]Brad Pitt[/bp] is easily worth a few bucks here, they'll mostly come opening weekend and then I expect Inglourious Basterds (could the title be more pretentious?) to tail off rather quickly from there.

5. Halloween II and 6. [tm:4154_]The Final Destination[/tm]

What we have on the weekend of August 28th is one of the most fascinating box office weekends ever and easily the most fascinating to ever occur on the last weekend of August. Two notable horror franchises will take over theaters and battle it out. The Halloween franchise was rebooted by Rob Zombie in 2007 and rewarded with a record setting Labor Day weekend, earning $30.5 million in four days. Of course, it finished with $58 million total but that's the nature of the beast.

The Final Destination franchise was last seen in February 2006, opening to $19 million (the highest of the three films) and finishing with $54 million (just ahead of the original release in 2000(!), before adjusting for inflation).

So now we have a matchup of Classic Franchise Updated By Gorno Master vs. Most Creative Death Scenes Ever Franchise. While The Final Destination would have gotten a few bonus points if they went ahead and named it "The Final Final Destination," I have to give the edge to Halloween here. It brings all the characters (who didn't die) back from the reboot, it's been more recent and that original opening weekend is really hard to beat. It's going to be quite a weekend at the box office, though.

7. [tm:4100_]District 9[/tm]

Will "[bp:598_]Peter Jackson[/bp] presents" turn into anything at the box office? Probably, but not enough to make a huge impact. The sci-fi tale has done a clever job with the marketing ("non-human" as opposed to "alien" echos apartheid as the film takes place in South Africa) and, like many other releases this month, I expect a fairly decent opening weekend followed by a quick trip out of theaters.

8. [tm:4183_]Post Grad[/tm]

My love of Rory Gilmore may be skewing things a little bit here but I think this can find a bit of an audience as a late summer date movie when there aren't many other options. Throw in the "best friend" character of Matt Saracen and you have something that might do okay as a lighter alternative to The Time Traveler's Wife. The only thing that works against it is that it may very well remind people of their own job and/or financial situation and people don't like to go to the movies to be reminded of that sort of thing.

9. [tm:4552_]Shorts[/tm]

[bp:450_]Robert Rodriguez[/bp] directed the Spy Kids movies and now brings you Shorts, a kids movie about a magic rock that grants wishes. Hey, stranger things have happened. What it has going for it is that this is the only option for kids in the entire month. Somehow, we're getting through all these weeks without the release of something computer animated. I believe that might be a record. Anyway, the success of Shorts will all depend on how well it's marketed to the kiddies.

10. The Goods

Jeremy Piven was recently the "guest host" of WWE's flagship wrestling program Raw in what was essentially nothing but a hard sell for this movie. He even brought co-star Dr. Ken Leong (you might remember him as the naked guy who jumps out of a car trunk in The Hangover) with him in a show that climaxed with Piven attempting to attack John Cena. Yeah, that's how you sell your comedy to your audience.